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Education Eye: Making the right school choices for individuals

Catherine Stoker

Catherine Stoker

  • by Catherine Stoker, director of The Independent Education Consultants
 

I have just returned from holiday so was fortunate to have plenty of time to catch up on some much needed R&R through reading.

One of the books I enjoyed presented an interesting take on the complexities of family life viewed through the eyes of siblings, each with their own viewpoint on events as a result of differing personalities, emotions, interests and experiences.

It led me to thinking about the complexities parents face in making senior school choices when there are siblings involved. Often convenience and hence school proximity to home can be the leading factor in deciding the right school for the family as a whole, especially where both parents work.

However, in my experience, parents need to think carefully before fitting siblings into one mould and choosing a one size fits all school. Sometimes convenience needs to be put aside to meet the needs of each child as an individual.

For some challenging, competitive, academic environments provide the most stretching option to achieve potential.

Although for others, spending your formative years in the shadow of the academic prowess, musical or sporting talent of an older sibling can knock confidence. Hence a different school may be needed to boost self-esteem and offer the opportunity to shine.

Allowing each child to tread their own freshly laid path with no preconceived expectations from teachers can be beneficial where siblings are very different in their personalities, strengths and weaknesses.

Many senior schools have specialities in different areas for example sport, technology or music.

For some a UTC environment focussed on employability skills or non-selective school with a particular specialism may prove more inspiring than that of a grammar.

If paying for education is an option, a smaller more nurturing school or the opportunity to spend time away from home as a weekly or full boarder, will enhance the development of individuality and independence.

When the time for transition from primary to senior school approaches, considering all options on their merits for each of your children is crucial.

 

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